Ever since childhood, when Susan Elliott received an embroidery kit from her grandmother for Christmas, needlework has played a central role in her life. “No matter where I went or what I did, I always sought out local embroidery methods and spent most of my free time embroidering,” she recalls. After receiving formal training at Atlanta’s Japanese Embroidery Center in addition to taking courses with the Embroiderers’ Guild, Elliott began to find her own artistic voice.
“I find inspiration for my designs from my own life, whether it’s the books I read, the places I go, the movies I see or people I know,” Elliott says. “All of them inspire me to create an embroidered textile to tell a story.” And tell stories she does with sewn 3-D characters such as Alice from Alice in Wonderland and even Audrey Hepburn, the latter appearing in a piece Elliott based on Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Elliott is well-versed in numerous embroidery techniques: “I use all of the different approaches in working on a piece to get my point across, and there are no supplies that are off limits.” She labels this her “mixed-media approach” to embroidery, but claims it’s mostly crazy quilting and stumpwork that she takes after.